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UPDATED: IBM Takes Stake in MDS; Cos. to Collaborate on Protein Database

This story has been updated from a previous version.

NEW YORK, Jan 30 – IBM said Tuesday it made an equity investment in MDS Proteomics of Toronto as part of a strategic collaboration that also includes an agreement to jointly establish a publicly available web-based protein database.

Financial terms of the deal and the size of the equity stake were not disclosed.

The companies said they would work together to understand the protein interactions at play in diseases such as cancer, AIDS, and depression.

“We have a vision of building a bridge between proteomics and drug discovery,” said Frank Gleeson, CEO of MDS.

MDS will use three superclusters of IBM’s Eserver systems running Linux and UNIX, as well as IBM’s DB2 database system and DiscoveryLink data integration software. The 700 gigaflop system of supercomputer clusters will process data generated from mass spectrometers located in North America and Europe.

But the partnership between the two companies involves more than just supplying computer equipment and making an equity investment, said Caroline Kovac, vice president of IBM Life Sciences.

The companies will also establish the Biomolecular Interaction Network Database, which will be publicly available to researchers who wish to submit and analyze their research. The companies have agreed to contribute money and technology to the database, whose specifications are in accordance with the open source GNU General Public License ( www.binddb.org ).

In addition, Kovac said the two companies will collaborate on basic research and development projects, in the hopes of finding outlets for IBM’s extensive R&D infrastructure.

“IBM is not looking at this as an investment in financial terms,” said Kovac, “but more like a long term partnership."

" IBM is not an investment bank,” she said.